I’m back in Taipei! My mum visited me in Taiwan, I had a brilliant holiday with her! Together we boarded a High Speed Rail train and zoomed off South to flee the cold and clouds. Under mum’s orders we first stopped by the Bird Society in Taipei, where by chance we were put into contact with Awei, a birdwatcher in Tainan. He was incredibly, marvelously kind and spent nearly two full days enthusiastically driving us to various secret spots rich in wading birds, letting us goggle at them through his telescope inbetween chatting about birds (with me cross translating) and buying us Tainan specialties like winter melon tea and dried mango.
Here are some of my sketchbook drawings! There are actually a whole bunch more, but I wasn’t sure if I should put all of them up…
Loooook it’s a black-faced spoonbill!!! 黑臉琵鷺 in Chinese. It was very, very exciting to see these rare birds splashing around and nibbling up beakfulls of water to gently groom each other with. Some had exciting head plumes and yellow highlights.
We got to see plenty of egrets, sandpipers, exciting ducks like pintails, teals and shovelers, avocets, plus one of my other favourites, black-winged stilts with their impossibly long, bright red legs; they’re apparently pretty common there.
We got to have dinner with Awei’s family as well, they were just wonderful! Here is a small watercolour portrait of Awei, Lilian and their two boys. (Click for larger scale) I did this from memory so I hope it’s ok.
On our third and last day in Tainan the weather brightened up, so we had a lovely timy sunning in the garden by Chihkan tower:
It’s a Dutch fort built in 1653, previously named Fort Provintia. There’s a statue to the God of Literature in one of the top pavilions, which students still come to to pray and hang up little charms to wish themselves good luck on exams.
Also visited the Matsu temple, the City God temple, Koxinga’s shrine, and the Confucian temple, where I had to paint a rooftop dragon. Here he is (though my actual painting is about half this size).